Expected weather for this month:

Generally settled with above average temperatures

It looks likely that generally settled conditions will continue through the first half of June. Therefore, we can expect a good deal of dry and bright weather for most, but with a few wetter intervals mixed in, these potentially thundery. The temperature will most likely be a tad warmer than the June average on the whole, especially in the west and south. Then, as we head towards the latter part of June, there are currently no strong signals for any weather out of the ordinary, although there remains a small chance of more unsettled conditions becoming established.

Hopefully, with pitch renovations completed, you’ll be sat back waiting for the new seed to germinate and get to the two to three leaf stage, so you can start mowing.

It is critical that you do not allow seedlings to dry out. Keep your seeded areas watered and, if available, make use of germination sheets to encourage rapid establishment. Mow the pitch on a regular basis, at least once a week, but do not take off more than a third of the leaf at any one time. Most professional groundsmen will be mowing on a daily basis or 2-3 times a week to encourage the grass to tiller, but at a set height of cut so as not to stress the plant.

Irrigation will be essential, especially if the long range weather forecast is correct. The grass will stress quickly in hot and dry conditions. Watering late evening is recommended to avoid loss from evaporation.

Key Tasks for June

Continue cutting regularly to ensure a good sward density. It may sometimes be helpful on newly established grass to lightly roll the surface before cutting to ensure that the does not get pulled out by the action of the mower. Also, ensure that any mowing equipment used is keenly set to cut without tearing.

June is when soils can dry out quickly. Make sure that your irrigation systems are functioning correctly as, once soils become hydrophobic and dry patch sets in, it becomes very difficult to get water back into the surface.

You may choose to use wetting agents to ensure uniform wetting, particularly on soils prone to dry patch.

Continue the work of brushing to keep the air circulating around the base of the plant, particularly important for removing early morning dew and controlling disease. However, suspend this operation for a period to allow for the germination of the new seedlings to take place, particularly on oversown thin areas.

Spike when the conditions allow, but keep your regime flexible. Surface spiking in a dry spell will help what rain you receive, or water you put on, to move quickly down through the profile to reach the new roots.

During the close season:  Recent news items have, once again, highlighted the need to ensure that all goalposts meet health and safety standards. Now is a good time to thoroughly check them over. Don’t just take them down and store them away. Make sure they will be fit for purpose for the new season.

Other areas should also be checked over, such as fences and dugouts.

Now is the time to get ahead of dry patch with a wetting agent – prevention, by applying them whilst the soil is still moist, is much better than cure on baked hard massively hydrophobic soils.

Feed-wise, you should be in the middle of your programmes now, but regular applications of SeaAction seaweed and Biomass Sugar are paramount to help plant function, stress tolerance and soil biology. Where granular feeds are ticking along as a base foundation, then liquids can be used to supplement growth at specific time, such as for competitions or in-between maintenance operations to give the turf professional fine control of the plant.

For anyone who has not checked their irrigation system for accuracy and function – now would be a really good time to do it.

Disease-wise, there might have been a bit of red thread around but it is best to just feed that out with a little bit of nitrogen rather than apply a fungicide. Red thread is a superficial disease on the leaf and does not affect the crown and kill the whole plant, like for example microdochium patch.

Please note: More information on weeds, pests and disease can be found here: https://www.pitchcare.com/useful/diseases.php

Pitchcare is the only provider of LANTRA accredited training courses in the maintenance of Winter Sports Pitches. It is a one day course designed to provide a basic knowledge of rugby and football pitch maintenance. The course enables the Groundsman to grasp the basic needs of a winter sports surface throughout a 12 month period.

Delegates attending the Winter Sports Pitch Maintenance course and using the accompanying manual will be able to develop their own skills, working knowledge and expertise, by understanding the method of instruction and the maintenance principles it sets out.

Details of our forthcoming autumn courses can be found on our website Groundsman Training

Included in the Course Manual, there are working diaries showing the range of tasks needed to be accomplished each month. The Course Manual is available for purchase separately.

In addition, we are able to arrange courses to be delivered on site to groups of 6 – 10 people. Email Chris Johnson for information.